The Orchard is a themed town center style mall that incorporates the eclectic styles of architecture found in Redlands, California. The abandoned indoor Redlands Mall sits on an underutilized plot of land in the heart of the city and The Orchard is my concept of how to create a sense of place. The design elements and place making that improve the guests experience is more similar to the design of theme park lands than a traditional architecture or real estate development.
I modeled this personal project in SketchUp and rendered it in Enscape. Photoshop was used to create color elevations and adjust renderings.
Trying to find a rhythm and balanced composition, while hosting a dissonant variety of architectural styles was a major goal while designing this project. The existing eclectic architecture that Redlands is home to provided a great starting point. With styles ranging from Spanish, and Victorian, to Neoclassical and Craftsman, the sandbox to play in was varied. In addition to playing with architectural styles, knowing the town center’s programming of shopping and dining was important in making buildings read easily. Large windows that display merchandise in retail locations, along with patio seating and balconies creating visible dining locations. The visual communication creates an intuitive and easy to understand space.
Finding an ideal width of the streets and sidewalks was a good challenge in the design process. Having to provide ample room for two lanes of traffic and diagonal parking was the starting place. From there I looked at how wide comfortable sidewalks should be, while being able to host landscape and foliage. Some facades are pushed back, anchor venues are pushed towards the street, some restaurants are pushed back to allow for patio seating and coverings.
When designing The Orchard, I kept the guests experience in the forefront at all times. From considering how guests will arrive and park, to where they can rest and relax. Parking is located underground, with several escalators and elevators to access the main level. A select amount of timed curbside parking is available in the shopping district for shoppers doing quick purchases or pickups. Shops are located closely together, creating an easy way to window shop. Restaurants take advantage of the views around the focal point of the site, the large lagoon and grass lawn, in addition to the natural mountains in the distance.
Having strong place making is key to what makes The Orchard different from other malls and shopping centers. Focusing on the spaces between buildings and building a sense of place through landscaping, benches and water features. Guests will want to stay and spend time in the area, even if they are not shopping or eating. The abandoned Redlands Mall provides no place making and closes itself off from the community. Having a space to invite the community to spend time in is key to making the town center concept work and differentiate itself from the generic malls of yesteryear.
Smaller side streets, paseos, and curving pathways invite guests to discover what is at the end of the street. Large lawns and water features are located in the hub of the site and create a relaxing place to sit and rest. A towering water tower element is found nearby, creating a beacon for people to be drawn towards.
Site Plan- Modeled in SketchUp and imported into AutoCAD.
Current Redlands Mall on the left; Concept layout for The Orchard on the right
Creating an intuitive layout and guest circulation flow were important in making the design successful. The main drag is an extension of the existing downtown area. The lagoon and lawn create a village green space that guests can relax and enjoy views of from the various restaurants.
Instead of creating a berm of buildings blocking off the community, many pathways and streets lead into the mall. Pathways flow from each side of the existing community inviting guests into the space.
The links below are to 360˚ panorama renderings created in Enscape. I utilized my Oculus Quest headset to walk through the model, this was a useful tool in the design process. The panoramas are similar to what I experienced in the headset. These are best viewed on a mobile device.